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Local News in Brief : San Juan Capistrano : County Seeks Dismissal of Suit on Mauled Girl

Attorneys for Orange County on Thursday asked a state commissioner to throw out a suit against the county by the family of a girl who was mauled and seriously injured more than 2 years ago by a mountain lion at a county park.

The family of Laura Small, 7, was back in court after failing in earlier attempts to hold the county financially liable for the attack at Ronald W. Caspers Regional Park, east of San Juan Capistrano.

Attorneys for Orange County told Superior Court Commissioner Eleanor M. Palk that the county is legally immune from liability in such a case.

But attorney Wylie Aitken, offering a revised civil suit for the Smalls, argued that the county failed to warn park users about lions at the park and actually lured dangerous animals by setting up picnic areas.

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Commissioner Palk said she would prepare an advisory report on the county’s attempt to throw out the suit, probably within the next several weeks. That report will then be forwarded for a formal ruling to Judge William F. Rylaarsdam.


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